The Essential Gutter Cleaning Tools

Regular gutter cleaning is a necessary part of household maintenance, allowing water to be moved from your roof into your drains. Blocked or otherwise obstructed gutters can leak water onto the roof and walls of your building, causing mould, dampness and even structural damage in serious cases. 

Coastal Drains works across the South East, offering a thorough and professional gutter cleaning service. In this guide, we’ll explain some of the essential tools that can be used to clean gutters, covering both the guttering and the downpipe. The best tool for you may vary depending on roof height, the level of blockage, and your budget.

When Using Ladders for Cleaning Gutters

ladder leaning against gutter

Depending on the height of your guttering, a ladder can be used as part of the cleaning process. The type of ladder you need will vary depending on your working height requirements, either an extension ladder or a step ladder. A step ladder can be used for lower gutters, while you’ll need to use an extension ladder positioned against your wall for high roofs. 

Whether you use a traditional extension ladder or a more modern telescoping ladder it’s worth investing in a good ladder stabiliser to ensure your own safety when using it for gutter cleaning, with base stabilisers also available. Using ladders for gutter cleaning is not the quickest method, but it will be the easiest to accomplish with everyday items.

Using a Gutter Scoop

Gutter Maintenance A Man Is Removing Leaves from a Blocked Rain Gutter

The cheapest gutter cleaning tool would be a gutter scoop, a type of moulded trowel designed to pick up all leaves and debris within a gutter. When looking to use a gutter scoop you should also use a bucket, preferably one you can attach to the top of your ladder. This is because the mixture of leaves, moss, and other dirt you retrieve from your gutters is likely to be quite messy, and best not dumped onto your garden. Placing it within a bucket will allow you to compost it in one go, and a larger bucket will mean fewer trips down the ladder. 

Heavy-duty gloves can also be a vital part of your gutter equipment, allowing you to pick up and scoop without worrying about getting messy. If using a ladder and a gutter scoop you will need to continually reposition yourself around your wall to reach the full extent of your guttering. A benefit of using a gutter scoop is that you can be more flexible and reactive, and have a clear vantage on the state of your guttering. 

A gutter scoop will not allow you to clear any obstruction within the downpipe, but will effectively remove all debris within the guttering. In addition to gutter scoops, there are smaller gutter cleaning spoons available for tricky to reach areas. For more information, read our guide to cleaning gutters.

Using a Telescopic Gutter Cleaner From The Ground

Combining with your garden hose, this long-handled gutter cleaning tool will allow you to wash away debris within your gutter from the ground or from a ladder. Telescopic pole cleaners are extendable handles with a curved end, designed for a normal hose to be slotted into. 

This handle can then be run along your guttering, helping to remove leaves and debris into the downpipe. There can be issues using a long-handled telescopic gutter cleaner, the main one being that the pressure from your hose will be relatively low, and may not be enough to dislodge blockages. This can also be a huge problem in cases where the downpipe of your guttering has become obstructed, as you can end up washing far more gunk into an already blocked pipe. This means that you should first ensure your downpipe is operating correctly before taking this approach.

Using a Leafblower as a Gutter Cleaning Tool

Suited for gutters that are filled with dried leaves, a leaf blower can be used as a gutter cleaning tool with a specialist high reach tube that will curve over into your gutters, allowing you to blow loose all leaves and debris. This can be effective for dried layers of leaves but may be less effective for some more solid or damp blockages. Another issue is that it will blow all debris loose into your garden, which can be quite messy.

Using an Extendable Gutter Vacuum From the Ground

a man cleaning gutters using extendable vacuum

A more professional gutter cleaning tool, a gutter vacuum is a powerful machine designed to access gutters from the ground level of a garden. With a high reach arm and a powerful suction force, gutter vacuums are intended to remove even the most stubborn blockages on high roofs. 

As the gutter vacuum system will be sucking in all debris, an added bonus is that mess will be kept to a minimum. Gutter vacuums are normally easy to handle, with carbon fibre handles in many models keeping them light. Professional gutter cleaning companies will be using tools such as gutter vacuums, though for personal use the high price may not be justifiable.  A wet/dry vacuum can also be used for gutter cleaning, with telescopic nozzles available.

Cleaning Gutters With a Telescopic Pressure Washer Attachment

A pressure washer can be used as a gutter tool with special extension wands. The force of a pressure washer can give a great level of cleaning. There are two main designs of hook-like nozzles that can be used for gutter cleaning, the first will be a single nozzle that can be fired straight down into your gutters, and the other is two nozzles pointing to the left and right, perfect for cleaning a gutter on both sides. 

Like a gutter vacuum, a pressure washer will be an expensive piece of equipment, though unlike the vacuum it will serve a variety of other purposes around a house such as cleaning your slabs or driveway. A downside of the pressure washer is that it will knock all debris into your garden, which can be quite messy. Like a gutter vacuum, it can be used to reach the guttering of high roofs from the ground, negating the need to use laddering.

Cleaning the Exterior of Your Gutters

While removing all leaves and debris from the inside of your gutters should be the priority, to maintain a clean look for your home, it can also be a great idea to clean the exterior of your gutters. There are a variety of generic cleaning liquids that can be used, best applied from a ladder. You can also mix white vinegar and water for a DIY method. Getting the exterior of your gutters sparkling clean will help to make your home as appealing as possible.

Are There Gutter Cleaning Tools For Downpipes?

Depending on the level of blockage in your downpipe, sometimes referred to as a downspout, it may be possible to clear it with a hose and a telescopic attachment. You can further attempt to loosen the blockage from a ladder by feeding a flexible length of wire into the downpipe to try and disturb any obstruction, before flushing through with water again. If this isn’t working sadly the only method is to remove your downpipe piece by piece, empty out blockages manually, and reinstall it. When looking to flush through an obstruction, make sure your drain entry is shielded or protected, to avoid flushing a blockage straight into your drain, where it may form a new blockage.

Installing Your Own Gutter Guards

Another way to keep your gutters safe, allowing you to thoroughly keep your drainage system working, is to install gutter guards either within or over your gutters. Should large objects become lodged within your gutters, it can be a difficult task to remove them even with gutter cleaning tools. A gutter guard is designed to restrict larger items like leaves and twigs from entering your gutter, while not fully stopping things like dirt. This means that you’ll need to clean your gutter from time to time, but it also means that the larger dangers posed by blocked gutters are greatly reduced. When looking for gutter guards you’ll have options like mesh, which can be secured over a gutter, and gutter brushes, which will be installed within a gutter, keeping large objects out with their hairs. Using gutter guards can be a great way to reduce the risks that can come from blocked gutters, and they can be quickly and securely installed by you.

What Gutter Cleaning Tools Can be Used on the Highest Buildings?

While telescopic gutter cleaning tools can be helpful for most houses, larger buildings will have guttering that cannot be reached from the ground level. In these cases, a professional would make use of scaffolding or a cherry picker to give themselves the height needed to use these tools. In cases where your gutters are out of reach from the ground, you’ll likely need to hire a professional to install scaffolding to the required height. From this scaffolding, your gutter cleaning tools should still be usable, allowing you to thoroughly clean your gutters. Blocked gutters pose serious risks regardless of their height.

Need a Professional Gutter Cleaner?

coastal drains van in brighton

Coastal Drains operates across the South East, offering professional gutter cleaning and repair. Our skilled team are available to thoroughly clean all gutters and downpipes, using the best gutter cleaning tools to carefully remove even the most stubborn blockages. We have earned a 5-star rating on Checkatrade, gaining a reputation for promptness, friendliness, and great service. We offer no-obligation quotes on all work, and will beat any price in your area, guaranteed. Contact us today for all of your gutter cleaning needs.

Call a member of our team to book a gutter cleaning today.

Author: Greg Child

Greg is an expert in drainage and has been in the business for over 30 years. He's the owner of Coastal Drains Ltd and a very, very friendly chap.